Mar 12, 2015
The steady growth of the production of Virginia wine in the last few years has brought an increasing number of people interested in becoming a part of the Virginia wine industry. With several highly-rated wineries and a growing number of educational options available to those interested in winemaking, Virginia is a great place to learn about wine and the winemaking process. Those seeking to work in an up-and-coming winery or vineyard will find several opportunities to get involved in the state of Virginia.
Virginia Wine Industry Jobs
Those interested in working in the wine industry might take any of several paths to become qualified. Whether one wants to start a vineyard, work as a winemaker or have a career in wine sales or the hospitality industry, there are several options for an education in wines and winemaking available in Virginia. There are also many classes and events available for those looking to casually increase their knowledge about Virginia wine.
Becoming a wine tour guide or working in a retail wine store is a great way to gain entry-level experience with Virginia wines and winemaking. Those seeking to become directly involved with wine production will in most cases seek either a certification or a degree in food science, viticulture, entology or food management. Each vineyard has its own set of hiring requirements for winemakers and other personnel, but most vineyards look for candidates with an ideal combination of experience and education. Professional sommelier positions typically require a combination of culinary or restaurant experience along with related coursework or professional certifications.
Virginia Wine Education Opportunities
Several Virginia organizations now offer courses, academic programs and certifications related to viticulture and winemaking. The following four schools and organizations offer courses and programs for those seeking a career in Virginia wine.
Washington Wine Academy – Arlington
The Washington Wine Academy was chosen as one of five top wine schools by Food and Wine Magazine. It also recently became the second United States organization to offer the Wine and Spirit Trust certification program. This school is a non-profit organization and offers professional certification courses as well as introductory classes on topics such as food pairings and French wines. The classes are taught by instructors with extensive experience in the wine industry. The organization also hosts wine events such as vineyard tours and wine cruises on the Potomac River.
The International Wine Guild – Richmond
The International Wine Guild offers courses for Virginia sommeliers and other wine classes. It also offers continuing education classes for wine enthusiasts and those seeking to expand their wine knowledge.
The Virginia Wine Society – Williamsburg
The Virginia Wine Society is dedicated to wine education and the promotion of the Virginia wine industry. It offers various wine tasting events led by experienced sommeliers.
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech offers extensive coursework in winemaking and viticulture. This school has been widely recognized for its research in viticulture and contributions to the Virginia wine industry.